A sensation seeking scale for children: Further refinement and psychometric development

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A revision of the Sensation Seeking Scale for Children (SSSC) was standardized and validated on a community sample of 660 elementary- and middle-school children and 168 clinic-referred male children. Factor analysis of the combined samples yielded three unique factors, entitled Thrill and Adventure Seeking, Drug and Alcohol Attitudes, and Social Disinhibition. Psychometric indices of reliability and validity were acceptable, but test-retest reliability was only moderate. Differences in SSSC scores according to sex, ethnic group, age, and intellectual status were similar to those found previously with the adult Sensation Seeking Scales. Consistent with documented relations between adult antisocial personality and sensation seeking, the SSSC distinguished boys with conduct disorder (CD) from clinic controls, but the SSSC scores of boys with CD did not differ from those of the community sample boys. Discussion includes suggestions as to the continued study of the assessment of sensation seeking in children.

This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant 1-R01-MH42529-04 and is based on the doctoral research of the first author.